"You and your True Blood co-star Anna Paquin kept your romance a secret on set for a long time.
Oh yeah. We had to find out if it was real and when you do get an acting job that could be special, the last thing you want to do is put any obstacles in the way of that. If it had gone wrong between us and we couldn’t stand the sight of each other, I really think we would have dealt with it without anybody knowing.
Why did you decide to get married?
A good question. I’ve never been married. It got to the point where you are calling somebody that you intend to stay with for the rest of your life your ‘girlfriend’. That’s what I’ve called everybody I’ve ever been with – and that’s not to say that those relationships weren’t important, because they were, I’ve got two amazing kids. But it felt ridiculous to call the person that you really are going to spend the rest of your life with your ‘girlfriend’. I felt she should have a title so I could joke and say ‘the missus’, make lots of wife gags.
Was it an elaborate proposal?
Not really. A very good friend of mine is a very fantastic jeweller so I knew I was going to get the ring cheap. It wasn’t elaborate at all, it was simple.
I guess it’s fair to say you’re pretty used to screen nudity by now.
Truthfully, I don’t even think about the sex now. The nudity is just something that is part and parcel of the job.
Do you work out like mad to keep all your bits in shape?
Everybody has to go to the gym and look fairly OK. All I think about is my food after the sex scene has happened, because everybody has to starve before it. If they put the sex scene after lunch, it’s a f***ing nightmare. I’m not even half-joking.
It must be very peculiar to be a real couple engaged in what’s pretty real-looking TV sex too.
There’s an understanding that we are doing our job, and so I’m glad that not only is she in the business but she is doing the same job as me, because she gets to read the script and we get to talk about it before we attack those scenes.
Have you ever worried that the sex on True Blood is too gratuitous?
Well, if they asked us to do something that I think we thought was not in keeping with the piece itself, we would question it. In the third series there’s a very provocative sex scene between Bill and Sookie and lots of people have asked whether it’s rape or whether it is consensual sex or whether it’s just very physical sex. I wanted to make sure in our heads what we were doing.
Did you really call Robert Pattinson a pussy and the Diet Coke of vampires?
I really did. But just his character. The truth is, you get asked and asked and asked this stuff. One day I was with my daughter in the car and the paparazzi stood in front of me so I couldn’t drive away so I had to give them something. I haven’t even seen Twilight. I don’t know the books but all I know is that Edward drinks cow blood instead of human blood. So I went: ‘He’s a pussy, he doesn’t even drink real blood, he’s the Diet Coke of vampires.’ I sent him a message saying: ‘Dude, I hope you realise this is a joke.’ I’ve still never met him.
Do the paps make your life hell?
I’ll take it quite happily. I never wanted fame or money, I was never in it for that. All I wanted to do was act. I’m in a situation where I’ve got the absolute best world I could ever have imagined. If people are interested in me picking up my dog s*** in the morning, then that’s part and parcel of it. I’m incredibly grateful for everything that’s been given to me.